Social Matters

Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung, IfS)

Institution Institut for Social Research
Location Frankfurt am Main
Themes socio-economic, political and cultural processes in western democracies
Orientation social science research in the tradition of Critical Theory
Founded 1923 (as a foundation)

© Rainer Ganahl IfS Today, the Institute of Social Research combines the approaches of Critical Theory with new theoretical tools and different issues in its programmatic orientation. Nonetheless, its basic guiding principle; that social science must endeavour to generate a critical understanding of society and set theoretical impulses for its emancipation, has been upheld. The institute's areas of concentration are structural change in normative integration, capitalistic rationalization and labour, transformation of the family and altered conditions of socialization, transformations of the welfare state and democracy, the culture industry and electronic media.

The IfS was closed down by the National Socialists in 1933. A few of its members were able to continue their work in the USA. Following their return, Max Horkheimer, Friedrich Pollock and Theodor W. Adorno reestablished the institute in Frankfurt in 1950. Adorno and Horkheimer developed their influential Critical Theory here. The State of Hessen, the City of Frankfurt am Main and the University of Frankfurt finance the foundation.
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